Lucius Furius and Caius Manlius were the next consuls. The Veientians fell to Manlius as his province. War however did not take place: a truce for forty years was granted them at their request, corn and pay for the soldiers [p. 145]
being demanded of them.
Disturbance at home immediately succeeds to peace abroad: the commons were, goaded by the tribunes with the excitement of the agrarian law. The consuls, nothing intimidated by the condemnation of Menenius, nor by the danger of Servilius, resist with their utmost might; Cn. Genucius, a tribune of the people, arraigned the consuls on their going out of office.
Lucius Aemilius and Opiter Virginius enter on the consulate. Instead of Virginius I find Vopiscus Julius consul in some annals. In this year (whatever consuls it had) Furius and Manlius, being summoned to trial before the people, go about in suppliant garb not more to the commons than to the younger patricians;
they advise, they caution them “to keep themselves from honours and the administration of public affairs, and that they would consider the consular fasces, the praetexta and curule chair, as nothing else than the decorations of a funeral; that when covered with these fine insignia, as with fillets, they were doomed to death.
But if the charms of the consulate were so great, they should rest satisfied that the consulate was held in captivity and crushed by the tribunitian power; that every thing was to be done at the nod and command of the tribune by the consul, as if he were a tribune's beadle.
If he stir, if he have reference to the patricians, if he should think for a moment that there existed any other party in the state but the commons, let him place before his eyes the banishment of Caius Marcius, the condemnation and death of Menenius.”
Fired by these discourses, the patricians from that time held their consultations not in public, but in private, and withdrawn from the knowledge of the many; where when this one point was agreed on, that the accused must be rescued whether by just or unjust means, every proposition that was most desperate was most approved; nor was an actor wanted for any deed however daring.
Accordingly on the day of trial, when the people stood in the forum in anxious expectation, they at first began to feel surprised that the tribune did not come down; then when the delay was now becoming more suspicious, they considered that he was deterred by the nobles, and they complained that the public cause was abandoned and betrayed.
At length those who had been waiting before the gate of the tribune's residence, bring word that he was found dead in his house. As soon as rumour spread this [p. 146]
through the whole assembly, just as an army disperses on the fall of its general, so did they separate in different directions. The principal panic seized the tribunes, now warned by their colleague's death what little aid the devoting laws afforded them.
Nor did the patricians bear their joy with sufficient moderation; and so far was any of them from feeling compunction at the guilty act, that even those who were innocent wished to be considered to have perpetrated it, and it was openly declared that the tribunitian power should be subdued by chastisement.